Keeping a clean home or office is important for the health and wellbeing of those inside, but traditional cleaning products are often full of harsh chemicals and can cause allergies, sensitivities and other health issues. In recent years, eco-friendly cleaning solutions have become increasingly popular due to their natural ingredients and lack of harsh chemicals. When selecting eco-friendly cleaning solutions, it’s important to consider factors such as fragrance, allergen content, and ingredients to ensure that you choose one that won’t irritate or trigger sensitivities. This guide will help you identify the best eco-friendly cleaning solutions for your needs, so you can keep your space clean and healthy without negatively impacting the environment or your health.
What are Eco-Friendly Cleaning Solutions?
Eco-friendly cleaning solutions use plant-based or naturally-derived ingredients to clean a variety of surfaces, from floors to counters to windows, without using harsh chemicals. They are often made with biodegradable ingredients that don’t leave toxic residue, so they reduce the amount of chemicals in the environment, including bodies of water. Eco-friendly cleaning products are often also cruelty-free, which means they weren’t tested on animals. Some are also vegan, which means they don’t contain any animal-derived ingredients, such as beeswax, honey, or silk worm excretions. Most eco-friendly cleaning solutions are made with synthetic ingredients, however, they may also include natural ingredients like essential oils. Some eco-friendly cleaning solutions are also made with a combination of synthetic and natural ingredients. Be sure to carefully read the cleaning instructions and ingredients of each product before choosing one.
Benefits of Eco-Friendly Cleaning Solutions
Better for your health – Traditional chemical cleaners can irritate your skin, lungs, and eyes, so it’s important to avoid them when possible. Eco-friendly cleaning solutions are often non-toxic, so they are much less likely to cause allergies or sensitivities. Many are also hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, so they won’t leave a smell behind.
Better for the environment – Traditional chemical cleaners also use a lot of water, so choosing an eco-friendly cleaning solution reduces your water use. Many eco-friendly cleaners are also biodegradable, so they don’t leave toxic residue like traditional cleaners often do.
Cost effective – While some eco-friendly cleaners are more expensive than traditional cleaners, many are comparable in price.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Eco-Friendly Cleaning Solution
Fragrance – The smell of a cleaning product isn’t a good indicator of how clean something is, but it can still be a big consideration when you choose an eco-friendly cleaning solution. Fragrances are often derived from artificial ingredients, so you’ll want to choose one that is free of artificial fragrances.
Allergen content – It can be difficult to know whether a particular cleaning solution is free of allergens, whether artificial or natural. It’s important to select a product that is least likely to trigger allergies or sensitivities, particularly if you or a family member has asthma. Look for products that advertise themselves as being hypoallergenic and fragrance-free.
Ingredient labeling and fragrance – You can also use the ingredients in a product to determine whether it is safe to use around your home. If a cleaning solution includes ingredients that are toxic to humans, such as ammonia or bleach, it’s not an eco-friendly cleaning solution.
Environmental impact – Be sure to choose an eco-friendly cleaning solution that is biodegradable and water-based whenever possible.
Ingredient Labeling and Fragrance
The ingredients in a cleaning product may indicate its fragrance, but it’s not always the case. Look for products that list their ingredients and fragrance in separate sections so you can be sure which is which. If a product is fragrance-free, it won’t contain any fragrances, whether artificial or natural. It may still contain other ingredients, however, any of which could cause allergies or sensitivities.
Ingredients to avoid – Many common cleaning ingredients are toxic and harmful to humans, so you should avoid them when possible.
Avoid high- pH products – Some ingredients, such as ammonia and bleach, are often used in traditional cleaning products because they’re effective at removing stains and odors. They’re also low in pH, meaning they are highly alkaline. High-pH chemicals can be toxic and harmful to humans, particularly when they’re inhaled, so look for products that have a low pH.
Be cautious of fragrances – Although natural fragrances are often preferable to artificial fragrances, be cautious when selecting a product that uses essential oils. Each essential oil may have different properties, including the potential to cause allergies or sensitivities.
Avoid citrus – Citrus oils, including lemon and orange, are often used in cleaning products because they are effective at removing odors. However, they are also known to cause allergies and sensitivities.
Many common ingredients in eco-friendly cleaning solutions are derived from plants, which are naturally hypoallergenic. However, allergens can be transferred when cleaning products touch surfaces that aren’t 100% clean.
Avoid products that use synthetic ingredients – Synthetic ingredients can be harmful, even when they come from plants. Some plants are genetically modified, making the GMO ingredients unsafe for humans, particularly young children whose immune systems are still developing.
Look for products that don’t contain allergens – Even though all natural ingredients are free of allergens, some products contain allergens that weren’t originally in the ingredients, but are transferred when they are mixed together.
Avoid rubber – Some plants, including rubber, can be toxic and harmful to humans, particularly when they are inhaled. Be sure to avoid products that include rubber.
Be Cautious of Fragrances
Natural fragrances, whether they come from essential oils or synthetic ingredients, aren’t always better for your health than artificial fragrances. In fact, some essential oils are known to cause allergies and sensitivities, particularly citrus and floral oils.
Avoid citrus oils – Many cleaning products use citrus oils, like lemon or orange, as a fragrance, as well as an ingredient that is effective at removing odors. While these oils are effective at cleaning, they can also cause allergies and sensitivities.
Look for non-synthetic ingredients – Natural ingredients, such as essential oils, don’t always come from non-toxic plants. In fact, some essential oils, including citrus oils, are toxic.
Don’t assume all natural ingredients are safe – Some plants are genetically modified, making the GMO ingredients unsafe for humans, particularly young children whose immune systems are still developing.
Eco-friendly cleaning solutions can be a helpful addition to your home or office cleaning routine. They are often gentler on the environment and your health than traditional cleaning products, so you can feel better about what you’re putting into your body, the amount of water you use, and the amount of waste you generate. When choosing an eco-friendly cleaning solution, it’s important to consider factors such as fragrance, allergen content, and ingredients to ensure that you select a product that won’t cause allergies or sensitivities. You can choose a product that is better for the environment and healthier for you by choosing an eco-friendly cleaning solution.